A family reunion is one of the best ways to re-connect with family from near and far. You can connect with your roots, reminisce about old times, and create lasting memories. Here are some ideas to make the event a huge success.
Where to Have a Family Reunion
Choosing the right location is always daunting. If your family is small enough, you can have it in someone’s backyard. That way, you don’t have to worry about scheduling specific times or cleaning up immediately. However, if you’re looking to have a set ending time and don’t want to worry about the stress of hosting in your living space, then a rented space or hotel may be the way to go.
Whether you choose to go glamping or “rough it” in tents, camping is a great way to unplug from technology and focus on what’s important. Make memories as you share campfire stories, go on hikes, and re-connect with nature (and each other). If you have a larger group of all different ages (and camping comfort levels), a campground with cabins, beds, and indoor common spaces may be the best option. Many campgrounds also have outdoor activities, like volleyball courts, indoor recreation halls, and dining facilities.
Vacation Rentals and Hotels
Most cities have vacation rentals where you can pile the whole family into a house for a weekend. Beach towns are a great place to look for rentals like this with companies like Airbnb or Vrbo. You can even contact short-term rental companies for packages and deals if it’s a well-established tourist town.
A hotel with a beach club is another great option to keep everyone entertained and busy during downtime. If anyone has young kids, some hotels even offer professional babysitting services so you can have a few hours with just the adults.
Park With a Covered Picnic Area
This is how we choose to do our family reunions. It’s a one-day event, so everyone can go back to their respective homes or hotels. It’s a potluck, so everyone brings a side or dessert. We usually grill hotdogs or hamburgers if there’s a grill at the park pavilion. Everybody makes an appearance: siblings, aunts, uncles, dads, cousins, grandkids, nieces, nephews, etc. This is undoubtedly a more low-key option if you don’t have the time and money for an extended family holiday. Don’t forget to recruit some family members for clean-up at the end!
Many theme parks offer large groups discounted admission, catering, and hotel room blocks. Suppose your family is filled with adrenaline junkies, Disney fans, or teacup fanatics. In that case, a theme park is a great way to spend quality time together. Make sure you keep everyone hydrated, comfortable and connected throughout the day. Large groups at theme parks can be a logistical challenge. Make a schedule, be flexible, and don’t stress the small details.
Games for a Family Reunion
Family reunions are a great way to re-connect with the people you love. But not all families are tight-knit or have a ton in common, especially with extended family. That’s where some fun activities can help break the ice. Here are some ideas to make the family reunion an unforgettable event.
Does your whole family love football? Classic films? Old-school hip-hop? Make a game where everyone can guess the answers to topic-based questions! Don’t forget to make prizes for the winner(s)!
This classic TV show is fun when you can make it come to life with your own family. You can pit immediate families against each other, i.e., “the Smiths vs. the Jones.” You could even make it the grandchildren vs. grandparents! A little competition and raised stakes motivate everyone to give their best effort and have fun!
“Find Someone Who”
This icebreaker game is great for larger, extended families. You may not know many details about every family member in attendance. The idea is you have a square chart of 25 boxes, each one with a personal fact. These can be “April birthday,” “has a pool,” “can play an instrument,” or “has a white car.” Each player must find a person for whom that fact is accurate, and they must initial the box. The first person with five initialed boxes in a row wins!
Guess That Baby Photo
Have everyone bring a baby photo (age 2 or younger) to the family reunion! Post them on a board or on a table with a number by each photo. Set out scraps of paper and have people name as many babies as possible. Everyone will love comparing photos and seeing how much people have (or haven’t) changed. This is also a fun way to see how similar family members looked when they were babies! Don’t forget a prize for the person who guesses the most babies correctly!
There’s no better way to spark some competition and get everyone’s adrenaline racing than with some family Olympics. You don’t have to make them highly physical activities, either (grandma and grandpa will thank you). Include a wide range of activities like minute-to-win-it style games, relay races, or strength contests!
Activities for a Family Reunion
Sometimes, an activity can help break the ice, especially in large groups!
Outdoor Movie Night
There’s nothing quite like an outdoor movie night. With a bedsheet, projector, beach chairs, and popcorn, you can make it an unforgettable night. Be sure to be conscious of the ages of everyone in attendance. Choose a movie that everyone will be comfortable with. And don’t forget the bug spray! If you need some suggestions, we have all kinds of movie ideas for all occasions! After the movie, you can set up a slideshow of favorite family photos or throwback home movies!
Set Up a Photo Booth
Photo booths are a fun and unique way to capture memories at an event. Someone in your family likely has a semi-professional camera you can set up on a tripod. If not, just rent one for the occasion! Grab some costumes and props and leave the photo booth out for the duration of the reunion. Don’t forget to use the camera to take a group photo of everyone in attendance! Afterward, set up a shared drive where everyone in the family can access and download the images.
Print a Family Cookbook
Have everyone send in their favorite family recipe a few weeks before the event, then add them to a website where you can create a custom family cookbook. You can either hand them out as favors at the event or take order requests beforehand!
A Memory Jar
Leave out a large, empty jar and scraps of paper for family members to write down their favorite family memories. At the end of the reunion, read them out loud together! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but hopefully, you’ll enjoy recalling the wonderful times spent together.
Making the Most of a Family Reunion
Family is a blessing that we can often take for granted. A family reunion is a perfect time to re-connect with your roots, share memories, and enjoy time with your loved ones. What are some of your favorite family reunion memories? Be sure to share this article with the people you love so you can start planning your next big family get-together!